Bangladesh is making significant progress in building its first nuclear power plant, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Yukiya Amano said following a visit to the site of the Rooppur plant on 3 July.
During the visit, senior officials briefed Amano on the implementation status of the preparatory activities on the site and the review process for issuing a construction licence for the plant. They also explained the role of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA) in ensuring safety and security requirements.
Rooppur's two reactors will be based on a modified version of the NPP-2006 VVER (pressurised water reactor), designed exclusively for the site on the eastern bank of the river Ganges 160 km from Dhaka. Russia agreed to build the Rooppur plant in an intergovernmental agreement signed in 2011, and agreed to provide $500 million to finance preparatory work including engineering surveys, and is to provide future loans to finance the actual construction project. The foundation stone was laid at the Rooppur site in October 2013 after Russia and Bangladesh signed an initial contract on the construction of the plant. The two countries signed a general contract for the project on 25 December 2015.
In a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Amano appreciated the strong political commitment, the public support, and the cooperation by Russia as important indications of the advances made at the plant. He underscored the IAEA's commitment to assist Bangladesh in achieving sustainable development using nuclear science and technology, in particular the safe and secure use of nuclear energy.
Bangladesh has received significant IAEA assistance for the review of nuclear laws, preparation for adhering to the international legal instruments, the development and review of regulations and the assessment of sites. The IAEA sent an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission to the country in 2011 and an INIR follow-up mission last year.
During his visit to Bangladesh, the country's foreign minister Abdul Hussan Mahmood Ali gave Amano a copy of an instrument of acceptance of the Amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
BAERA issued the first site licence for the Rooppur plant in June 2016, allowing preliminary site works, including geological surveys, to begin. First concrete is expected to be poured shortly, marking the official start of construction of the units. The first reactor is expected to begin operating in 2023.